and 14 months later…

birds, Falconry, Harris Hawk, Hawk, nature, Owls
Whisper beautiful Barn owl. Bird lady of Fowey

Whisper, my missing Barn Owl

… and here I am busy with my birds in June 2019.  Since last year we have moved house, though still have my Owl fields in Fowey, built new aviaries, tragically lost my little brother and now look after our 3 nieces too.

So when people say ‘are you busy?’ – the answer is a definite ‘YES!’

Oh, and Whisper nipped out of her aviary about a month ago and headed down the beautiful Fowey River Valley, without so much as a thank you!  After 4 years of tender, loving care too!

 

She was a very good weight and regularly caught any rodent that made the mistake of running into her home. I think she was ready for a mate; we are putting an owl box high up in a conifer just in case she is still around.

We only moved 4 miles up the Fowey River Valley to a beautifully secluded spot.  Perfect for the birds and with the plan of hosting some private bird experiences there in the

Flying with the Bird Lady of Fowey

Loki loves his new valley

future too.

Aviaries ready for winter

My new aviaries looking good in the snow

It is more sheltered and has easier access than the field – although to free fly the hawks across the open fields is a wonderful experience when possible!

Our home is now a converted cow barn, and we have renovated the old piggeries into four very smart looking aviaries.  They have turned out really well; we used the original slate for most of the roof and made the most of the large old slate walls and granite troughs that were still in place.  Loki loves his en-suite.

Now, if only June would dry up… 🙂

Hawks and Me

birds, Falconry, Harris Hawk, Hawk, nature, photography

Flying hawks can be a full time job, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.  My 3 Harris hawks all have different characters.  Loki is my prince, he is so loyal and mild mannered everyone who meets him falls in love a little bit.

Loki Feb 2018

Loki Feb 2018

He and I enjoy long walks across the fields; this afternoon he watched me bash tall patches of stinging nettles with a stick – how have they all grown so fast already? – Loki is watching out for any animal he can grab and flies between the branches following me, sometimes dashing past and clipping my shoulder with his wing tip as if to say ‘I’m still here, right with you’.

He rarely catches anything, but always gets a good dinner back in his aviary.  Such a lucky, happy hawk, and lady!

 

 

The other 2 boys are quite different to work with.  We haven’t known each other for as long as Loki and I as they both came to me just last Autumn.

Chiko Feb 2018

Chiko Feb 2018

Chiko had a reputation for being noisy and moody, often a new owner can change this pattern of behaviour however he is persisting – I call him Father Jack most days 🙂 He is a quick flier and good to handle, just grumpy! He is in moult now so has an excuse, I am letting him be for a while and hope he is in a better mood soon!

 

Thor is the eldest hawk of the 3 being 5 years old.  They can live to 18 years or so in captivity and at 5 yrs old Thor knows what to do to have an easy life and get food.  They are very clever birds, enjoying a hunt and also knowing, or could I say understanding, the relationship we have and therefore allowing themselves to be tethered again.

Thor Jan 2018

Thor Jan 2018

That is the real thrill for me.  Having that unspoken bond with a species so different to us.

 

My I have had the pleasure of sharing this amazing experience with many different people this winter, even in the snow!

And finally, and quite magnificently, I have my Redtailed hawk who is cousin to our buzzards – the first birds of prey I fell in love with.  She came to me with the name Cleopatra, but I called her Isie after my mum, who was a North American bird too 🙂  Isie is the largest of all my hawks, and the most timid.  She will only bath indoors, very demure, and gives everyone a beautiful display of her wings as they approach to show how big she is.  She does fly for me when in the mood, and it is wonderful to see her in full flight.

Isie Feb 2018

Isie Jan 2018

Hope to see you soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Busy Birds

art, birds, cute, events, fairies, Falconry, Harris Hawk, Hawk, Hoots, nature, Owls, Owls, photography

Training and caring for my birds certainly keeps me busy, and I try to make sure the birds keep busy too.  The past few months have seen the birds entertaining families while they get creative in the yurt; hosting summer feast nights; giving people the thrill of having a bird of prey fly to their glove for food and taking part in several bespoke photo shoots.

The feast nights brought lots of new people to the Owl Field in August.  With the Keep Cornwall Fed chefs and Kim’s Kitchen cooking up some delicious meals we will definitely be planning more for 2018.

Photography sessions have also been a big part of our activity, and the cows like to join in too and surprised Maryna of Photography by Maryna!  She got her bag back with only a little cow slobber on it!!

So if I ever wonder if I am doing the right thing – I look at my birds, reflect on how much we have achieved together, and know that I am doing exactly the right thing…then I put the kettle on!

Cold in the Sun

birds, Falconry, Harris Hawk, Hawk, nature, Owls, Owls, photography

We have had some beautiful days this winter, bright sunshine while the frost on the ground crunches underfoot.  Today the skies are grey and it is wet and windy, which means that I am inside and have time to write this blog – a good thing… though I would rather be outside in the fields.

hawk-at-home

Hawk at home

 

Chaya and I have enjoyed some stunning days together, and she is getting used to me taking my phone out of my pocket to photograph her – now she doesn’t think it is her food!

long-shadow-hawk

January shadows

Chaya looks so stunning against the bright blue winter sky, I am in awe when she is flying free.  She is such a free spirit and will soar overhead, suddenly swooping into a far field after something she has seen – I rarely see what she is after.  I wait a couple of minutes and then whistle [I can whistle very loud] and she comes soaring back, often so close I feel her wing brush against my shoulder.

We have had some visitors in the field recently, and Whisper was on her best behaviour for a special birthday 2 hour Owl Experience just before Christmas [available to book anytime, check out my Shop page and give me a shout!]

Whisper flies so beautifully, and so silently, she leaves me speechless.

Whisper loves the twilight, and her plumage looks even more stunning in the low winter sun – especially late afternoon when the sun is setting.

And Peanut, well, he had to come in and join me for a coffee the other day, just for the company of course!  He loves sitting in the sun shining through the kitchen window while I rub his ear.

Then he roused – ruffled his feathers…I took this photo on my phone – love that you can see Peanut’s point of rotation!! Crazy dude, we love you Peanut!!

peanut-whirl

Peanut Whirl

See you in Feb!!

Busy Owls

birds, cute, Falconry, Harris Hawk, Hawk, nature, Owls

How time flies in the summer – especially with my owls, a hawk and a site to complete before my first ever field event on August 13th – that’s less than 2 weeks!!!

The birds are all moulting like crazy – it seems like I have more of their feathers than they do 🙂

IMG_4369

 

Peanut lost his last tail feathers last week and looked like a kid with gappy teeth!  He has been busy helping me with my summer sessions at Trenython Hotel and Fowey Hall as well and it seems it is all very tiring for a little owl…

peanut sleeping at work

Peanut still loves his cuddles, especially when we tickle him behind his ears – at least I think that is where they are!

Chaya, my Harris hawk, has been soaking up the sun at every opportunity.

sunny harris hawk

She is also moulting like crazy so I am giving her a rest and feeding her up – she has been a very happy, if a little fat, hawk and today I saw her new tail feathers appearing – much nicer than the one I found in her aviary the other day…she had definitely worn that one out!

Time to go and cut the grass…again…..and I can see the sun 🙂

 

A Harris Hawk called Chaya

birds, Falconry, Harris Hawk, Hawk, nature, photography

On Pancake day this year I collected my very own Harris Hawk.  After over 30 years of waiting I finally got a Hawk of my own – so very exciting and nerve racking all at the same time!  I love my owls and always will, but a Harris Hawk is a completely different bird all together.  Much more like a working dog in the way a relationship can be forged – becoming partners in nature.  As a child I dreamt of this day.

Chaya Harris Hawk

She arrived angry and disgruntled – her previous aviary had it’s roof blown off by the storm Imogen 2 days before, and with her owners moving soon they did not want to rebuild so put her up for sale.  She had only been with them for a few months and had flown free just a couple of times, hunting but not caught anything yet.

Still a young bird, hatched in 2014 at the end of June, she had not been trained or flown as much as she could have been so it was going to be up to me to bring her ‘in to her own’.  I had briefly worked with her early last summer and I hoped she may remember me as the person who had encouraged her to fly to the glove for food, and on a creance too.  However with her strong feet and attitude I really wasn’t sure if she did, or ever would!

Feb 2016 yellow feet Harris Hawk

She needed a name – Birdy was all she had been called before.  After searching through my usual Google pages of goddess names and the like I chose Chaya – meaning Full of Life in Hebrew ,with similar words in Gaelic meaning hawk like, and in Mexican meaning life giving.  A good strong name for a beautiful, strong female Harris Hawk.

She showed good spirit [or temper!] and was very keen for food so I quickly got her flying in the field on a creance [long 30 metre leash] while we got to know each other.

Chaya on creance.JPG

Chaya loves playing in trees and chasing squirrels, though still hasn’t caught one yet.  She is getting used to the wind too, after the storm she really did seem quite unnerved by the wind, especially strong gusts, but with regular flying she is getting stronger and more confident by the day.  We go out every day possible, wind or rain as long as it is not too rough!

 

Chaya loves company, Harris Hawks are very social creatures, so she is by my side most of the day – watching me tend my parking area, visiting friends or on her bow perch in my garden as I type my blogs.

She will, hopefully, live to the age of about twenty, and I look forward to our adventures together.  She is now flying free every day and has started preening my hair [which needs it after our walks].  I have found a good friend.

Harris Hawk flies over willow